Photo: GCIS / Flickr
Photo: GCIS / Flickr
Should we be bracing for another so-called “family meeting” sometime soon? President Cyril Ramaphosa has reportedly called ANOTHER meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), which is set to take place as soon as he returns from West Africa on Wednesday.
The trip occurs in the midst of rising COVID-19 infections here in South Africa and stubborn nations forging ahead with their travel bans, despite them recording much higher infections. While the trips to Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal, which is his last stop, are meant to strengthen partnerships directed at African development and cooperation in multilateral forums, the emergence of the Omicron variant seemed to be the elephant in the room.
It is no secret that COVID-19 figures have risen astronomically over the past few days, with over 16 000 cases picked up for a second consecutive day on Saturday, signalling the worst to come, as health experts have warned. One important point to note is that experts don’t anticipate COVID-19 hospitalisations increasing as dramatically as they did during the previous waves. The hike in COVID-19 infections has prompted speculation of specific measures being put in place this festive season, in an effective way to mitigate against its further spread.
During President Cyril Ramaphosa’s West Africa trip, he did not mince words and took every opportunity to slam the travel bans that other countries implemented on South Africa.
“Whilst we respect the right of every country to take measures to protect their people, the sustained global co-operation we need to overcome the pandemic necessitates that we are led by science. As South Africa, we stand firmly against any form of health apartheid in the fight against this pandemic,” he said while in Ivory Coast.
While when in Ghana, Ramaphosa moved to allay fears over the Omicron variant.
“I have been in touch with the minister of health about the virus and he said yes, it [the Omicron variant] is more transmissible, it seems, than others. However, he says our hospital admissions are not increasing at an alarming rate, meaning that whilst people may be testing positive, they are not in large numbers being admitted into hospitals. It is for that reason that I did say that we should not panic because it is possible, and tests and research still needs to be done and although Omicron spreads, it does not seem to be resulting in greater number of admissions in hospitals and we should take heart in that,” he said.